Investors Pour $27.1 Billion into AI Startups, Defying a Downturn

Investors Pour $27.1 Billion into AI Startups, Defying a Downturn (



from the smarts-money dept.

“For two years, many unprofitable tech startups have cut costs, sold themselves or gone out of business,” reports the New York Times.

“But the ones focused on artificial intelligence have been thriving.”
Now, the AI boom that started in late 2022, has become the strongest counterpoint to the broader startup downturn. Investors poured $27.1 billion into AI startups in the United States from April to June, accounting for nearly half of all U.S. startup funding in that period, according to PitchBook, which tracks startups. In total, U.S. startups raised $56 billion, up 57% from a year earlier and the highest three-month haul in two years. AI companies are attracting huge rounds of funding reminiscent of 2021, when low interest rates pushed investors away from taking risks on tech investments…

The startup downturn began in early 2022 as many money-losing companies struggled to grow as quickly as they did in the pandemic. Rising interest rates also pushed investors to chase less risky investments. To make up for dwindling funding, startups slashed staff and scaled back their ambitions. Then in late 2022, OpenAI, a San Francisco AI lab, kicked off a new boom with the release of its ChatGPT chatbot. Excitement around generative AI technology, which can produce text, images and videos, set off a frenzy of startup creation and funding. “Sam Altman canceled the recession,” joked Siqi Chen, founder of the startup Runway Financial, referring to OpenAI’s chief executive. Chen said his company, which makes finance software, was growing faster than it otherwise would have because “AI can do the job of 1.5 people….”

An analysis of 125 AI startups by Kruze Consulting, an accounting and tax advisory firm, showed that the companies spent an average of 22% of their expenses on computing costs in the first three months of the year — more than double the 10% spent by non-AI software companies in the same period. “No wonder VCs are throwing money into these companies,” said Healy Jones, Kruze’s vice president of financial strategy. While AI startups are growing faster than other startups, he said, “they clearly need the money.”

Startups receiving funding include CoreWeave ($1.1 billion), ScaleAI ($1 billion), and the Elon Musk-founded xAI ($6 billion), according to the article.

“For investors who back fast-growing startups, there is little downside to being wrong about the next big thing, but there is enormous upside in being right. AI’s potential has generated deafening hype, with prominent investors and executives predicting that the market for AI will be bigger than the markets for the smartphone, the personal computer, social media and the internet.”

“There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them”
– Heisenberg


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